Most sunburn is actually a first degree burn, and is accompanied by the familiar symptoms of tender reddened skin. More severe burns, with bright red colouring, swelling and blistering indicate that the burn has penetrated the surface layer of the skin and become a second degree burn.
Causes The sun has two types of ultraviolet radiation important in a discussion of damaging effects to the skin. It is UVB rays which cause sunburn and the potential for skin cancer, although UVA radiation is now also considered to contribute to premature ageing and wrinkling. Reflected sunlight from sand, water or snow can also cause sunburn.
Certain drugs can intensify the harmful effects of UV radiation.
Fair skinned people are more vulnerable to sunburn than darker people, but it is possible for anyone to get burnt if they are exposed for long enough at a time or place when the UV levels are high.
Few cases of sunburn require medical care, however, extremely severe cases of sunburn (those involving extensive blistering, dehydration, or fever) usually require medical attention.
- Antioxidant nutrients such as Vitamin A (betacarotene), Vitamin C , and Vitamin E can help reduce the risk of oxidative damage and promote healthy skin, especially when taken in conjunction with the minerals zinc and selenium
- Aloe vera gel and vitamin E cream are soothing to inflamed skin and assist the body’s healing processes when topically applied
- Apply cold compresses, aloe vera gel or calamine lotion to ease itchiness.